Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Traveling Tuesday: Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade

Traveling Tuesday: Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade

This year marks the 95th anniversary of the first Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, however, it will be only the 92nd time participants will have marched the New York City parade route. After the U.S. entered World War II, the festivities were cancelled in 1942, ’43, and ’44, and the rubber balloons deflated and contributed to the government for use in war materiel-a total of 650 pounds.

Originally called the Macy’s Christmas Parade as a way to celebrate the store’s expansion (which now took up an entire city block), the majority of the participants were employees. Professional entertainers, bands, and animals from the Central Park Zoo (bears, elephants, and donkeys) were also included. In 1925 and 1926, lions and tigers were added, but it was determined they were too scary for viewers, so were removed. Santa may have brought up the rear of the parade and been popular with children, but the real reason for the event was to unveil Macy’s Christmas window displays.

During the late 1920s, at the end of the parade, the balloons were released, and a monetary reward offered for their return. Apparently, the balloons included an address label on them so folks would know where to take them. Setting the balloons free was seemingly good idea until a cartoon character burst into flames when it hit a high tension wire, and a cat balloon sent a two-passenger plane plummeting. Needless to say, after those events, the tradition ceased.

Over the years, hundreds of celebrities have participated. The early years saw big names such as Harpo Marx, Jackie Gleason, Bob Hope, Diana Ross, Sammie Davis, Jr., and Tony Bennett.
In 1947, the film Miracle on 34th Street brought the parade to theatres, and the following year, the parade was televised for the first time by NBC. The estimated number of viewers for this years is 3.5 million people!

I grew up in New Jersey, and as part of our high school band marched in the parade each year. We’d leave the school at 3:00 AM (thanks mom and dad!) in order to arrive at our lining up location at the appropriate time. Those wool uniforms that were too hot during early September football games, barely kept up warm during the frigid early morning hours waiting to being. We’d surround the twirlers and flag girls, who wore tiny skirts and lightweight blouses, in an effort to block the wind and keep them warm. I’m not sure how successful we were.

Because of participating as a band member, the bands are my favorite part of the parade. What do you like best about the parade?


Inspired by exciting and romantic stories from the Bible, each of the Wartime Brides novellas is set during WWII. Read modern retellings about Ruth and Boaz (Love's Harvest), Shiprah and Puah (Love's Belief), Rahab and Salmon (Love's Rescue), and Rebekkah and Isaac (Love's Allegiance).

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/33izJSa

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Ane Mulligan

Talkshow Thursday: Meet Ane Mulligan

Linda:  Thanks for joining me today. You have had a wide and varied career. What led to you becoming a novelist and seeking publication? 
ANE: Thanks for having me, Linda. You’re right, I’ve tried my hand at several things. Strangest of all, a failed job search led to my husband telling me to stop looking for a job and write a book. He figured I’d spent so much money buying books, I could write one of my own. And he was right!
LM: What is your favorite part of the writing process: research, writing, or revising?
ANE: I love research and revising. Then again, I love when my characters take over the story and go places I hadn’t expected or thought of before. But editing and revising is my favorite part. That’s where the magic happens. 
LM: Your books cross several genres within the fiction realm, and you have also contributed to a non-fiction publication. What made you decide to write in multiple genres, and how is the writing process different?
ANE: I never thought of them as different genres. In When the Bough Breaks, there is an issue dear to women’s hearts: family and adoption. The fact it reads like a romantic suspense or mild political thriller is beside the point. Really. I write fiction set in the South, with a bit (some with a lot) of humor, and women helping women deal with life’s issues. My new series which launces next summer (2020), is true to my brand. All my books have an ensemble cast of strong women who traverse life’s issues together.  
LM:  Research is an important part of the writing process. What are some of the ways you have researched your books, and did you conduct your research differently for your fiction and non-fiction books?
ANE: I’ve travelled to locations, used the internet, and queried the members of ACFW. In Chapel Springs Revival, I wrote myself into a corner at the 50k word mark. I needed a geologist and fast. In ACFW, I found someone whose husband was a geo geek. He knew a lot and connected me with a PhD who knew the rest. I was able to carry on with a minor tweak.  
LM: How do you decide which genre to write for each subsequent project?
ANE: This historical series was started before my first book was published. At the time, God kept all the doors shut in the pub world. I was going to pub boards all the time, but no contract came out of them. My agent suggested trying historical. But after 30k words in, she said I needed to choose. I chose contemporary at the time.
After the last book in the Chapel Springs series published, my agent said my brand had been established. The historical book was true to my brand, just in another era, 1929-30. So I pulled it out, finished it, and it was contracted quickly. 
All that to say, if I remain true to my brand, my readers will read the books in any genre.
 LM: What advice do you have for fledgling writers?
ANE: Number 1 is to enjoy the journey. It could be years before you publish. Network and make friends. Then, write what’s on your heart, not to market. 
LM: Here are some quickies:
Favorite vacation spot: mountain lake
Favorite childhood author: Julie Campbell. She wrote the Trixie Belden series.
Favorite season: Fall
LM: Where can folks find you on the web?

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Traveling Tuesday: Indiana and Its Hoosiers

Traveling Tuesday: Indiana and Its Hoosiers

The mid-western state of Indiana had only been part of the United States for 125 years when it was drawn into World War II. Bordered by Lake Michigan, Michigan, Ohio, Kentucky, and Illinois, the state was initially settled by the French. After the territory was released to the British after the French and Indian War, the area was divided between colonists and Native Americans. By the 1840s the US had purchased all of the Natives’ land and removed them to other areas. Europeans began to flock to the area with Germans and the Irish making up the largest percentage.

With the industrial revolution, Indiana became a hotbed of manufacturing, and the state soon developed ties to the automobile industry, boasting more plants than Detroit, Michigan. As with the rest of the nation, Indiana was hit by the Great Depression. The subsequent Dust Bowl sent many people out of the state in search of employment.

Then came World War II.

The almost dormant steel mills went back into full operation producing wartime materiel. New factories were construction creating boomtowns; small villages that explodes from several hundred to several thousand. International Harvester’s Richmond facility went from producing truck parts and pickup trucks to manufacturing the two-and-a-half-ton, six-wheeled cargo trucks. Other factories included RCA where proximity fuses were made, Guide Lamps produced cartridge cases, South Bend Toy created tent poles, and Republic Aviation built P-47 Thunderbolts. Shipyards lined the Ohio River. Ranking eighth among the states, Indiana ultimately produced 4.5% of the US military armaments.

Airfields were installed or expanded, including Baer Army Air Base at Fort Wayne, Stout Field in Indianapolis, Bendix Air Field in South Bend, and others in Evansville, Seymour, and Columbus. Constructed immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Camp Atterbury trained thousands of soldiers and later housed German and Italian POWs. The Camp’s 6,000 bed hospital treated over 85,000 patients during the course of the war.

Approximately 338,000 men fought in the war (about 10% of the population), with over 13,000 losing their lives. More than 118,000 of Indiana’s women also served in the military. Unsurprisingly, the state fair and the Indianapolis 500 closed until after the war.

Indiana has been home to two presidents, numerous athletes, entrepreneurs, actors, musicians, and celebrities. It also produced two writers during WWII. The first, Ernie Pyle, was a journalist who traveled far and wide to report on the war. He focused on the ordinary enlisted soldier and often listed them by name and hometown in his articles. Pyle won awards or his reporting and was killed by machine gun fire on April 18, 1945, just three weeks before VE day. The other writer, Kurt Vonnegut, dropped out of college to enlist and experience the war as a soldier. Captured during the Battle of the Bulge, he survived the bombing at Dresden by hiding in a meat locker. He published his first novel in 1952, but would not see commercial success until 1969 with the release of Slaughterhouse-Five.

Just as important, if not more so are the women on the home front who kept the farms going, raised their children, and waited for their husbands to come home. Said one Indiana housewife, Virginia Mayberry, “It takes all kinds of people to fight a war, even a popular war like WWII. There are soldiers and sailors. There are spies and nurses and aviators. And then there are those who only stand and wait. Service wives are like that; I was a draftee’s wife.”

Now available: The Wartime Brides Collection. You can read this four-book collection all at once! Inspired by exciting and romantic stories from the Bible (Ruth and Boaz, Shiprah and Puah, Rahab and Salmon, and Rebekkah and Isaac) each book is a modern retelling set during WWII.

Purchase Link: https://amzn.to/33WV2tA

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Talkshow Thursday: When Valleys Bloom Again

Talkshow Thursday: 
When Valley Bloom Again by Pat Jeanne Davis

Christmas 1942 would be for many men who were sent abroad to fight their first time outside of the United States. Receiving handmade items of apparel and baked homemade goodies from loved ones back home in the states, would be a huge morale booster at any time but especially at the holiday season. Even when these were prepared and packaged for overseas shipment in plenty of time, it usually took many weeks before these items reached our homesick soldier.
Excerpt from When Valleys Bloom Again
November, 1942
            Abby looked up from measuring sugar to see Carol and Phyllis working side by side. In spite of Carol’s many complaints, Abby sensed she and her mother were close.
Abby wiped her hands on a red polka dot apron. “I never baked with my mother.” She heaved a loud sigh. “I missed out on all this.” Startled by a clang, she swung around. Aunt Val stooped to pick up a dropped baking pan.
“I’ll get it, Auntie.” Abby knelt beside her, noting a confused look in her eyes.
“I can manage, dear. Don’t fuss.”
Abby returned to her counter. “We’re much better off than they are in London. Jim wrote that brides have to make do with cardboard wedding cakes because sugar’s rationed.”
“Then why bother at all?” Carol said, turning on the electric mixer to blend the ingredients for cookies.
“We must have our situation reviewed again by the ration board,” Aunt Val said from across
the room. She added chopped walnuts to her batter. “I do hope this war’s over before next autumn.”
“Then maybe we’ll have butter again,” Carol said, lining a cookie sheet with parchment paper. She worked dough into large balls. “And not this awful oleo.”
Valerie poured the contents of her mixing bowl into baking pans. “I don’t see much choice about that since butter costs eight points a pound, while oleo only costs five,” she said, scraping the bowl. “Still, William likes butter, so we’ll have it occasionally.”
“By pooling all our ration points we got everything we needed. Even enough sugar.” Abby shaped dough into crescents. “My sister tells me even toilet paper and quality soap are rationed.”
Carol put an arm around Abby’s waist. “Thanks to you I’ll have a new dress and coat for Christmas with your unredeemed clothing coupons.”
“I look at the consumer report each month, to see how I can best use my points.” Phyllis stood at the sink, washing the utensils. “But I shouldn’t complain. There’s much to be grateful for this Thanksgiving Day.”
Valerie opened the double oven range door, sliding her pans inside. A miscellany of copper-bottom pans hung from brass hooks above the range. “Our cook complains she’s finding it hard to stock the pantry for the children and needs stamps for almost everything and that meat is scarce.” She shook her head. “She says those instructions on how to use stamps are too complicated.”
Soft laughter filled the room, while the delicious smell of baked goods filled the air. Abby bit into a scone. She pictured Jim opening the box with their treats. He’d written saying the men in his division held a party for the children near the base. She set aside some for Edythe. Jim would want her to. It was her habit to mentally submit her decisions to Jim for approval. How did she manage before without this reference point?
Carol transferred the cookies to a rack, taking one. “Do we need to send all these?”
Phyllis grabbed a dish towel and whacked her across the shoulder. “They’re for your brother, not you. And our package must go out tomorrow so as to be there in time for Christmas.”

About When Valleys Bloom Again

As war approaches in 1939 Abby Stapleton’s safety is under threat. Her father, a British diplomat, insists she go back to America until the danger passes. Abby vows to return to her home in London—but where is home? With her family facing mortal danger so far away and feeling herself isolated, she finds it hard to pray or read the Bible. Did she leave God behind in war-torn London too? Abby becomes friendly with Jim, a gardener on her uncle’s estate.

Jim can’t get Abby out of his mind. Did she have a sweetheart in England? Was it foolish to think she’d consider him? He curses his poverty and the disgrace of his father’s desertion and drunkenness haunts him. Can he learn to believe in love for a lifetime and to hope for a happy marriage?

Abby couldn’t know the war would last a long time, nor that she would fall in love with Jim—soon to be drafted by the U.S. Army—or that she’d have to confront Henri, a rejected suitor, determined by his lies to ruin her reputation and destroy her faith in God’s providence. Will she discover the true meaning of home and find happiness with Jim?

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/when-valleys-bloom-again-pat-jeanne-davis/1130351044?ean=9781948888929                                       

Connect with Pat:   

LinkedIn:  https://www.linkedin.com/in/pat-jeanne-davis-34290422/                   

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Wartime Wednesday: Sadie Hawkins Day

Wartime Wednesday: Sadie Hawkins Day

According to one of the “national calendar days” websites, today is Sadie Hawkins Day. Only vaguely aware that the “holiday” entails gals asking out guys, I decided to look up the history of this auspicious occasion. I was surprised to discover the day stems from the L’il Abner comic strip started by cartoonist Al Capp (born Alfred Caplin) in 1934.

Capp arrived in New York City in 1932 with less than $5.00 in his pocket, and lots of ambition in his heart. He secured a job creating advertising strips, but soon found work with the Associated Press. Hating it, he quit after only a few months and moved to Boston where he met and married Catherine Wingate Cameron. Continuing to seek fame and fortune in cartooning, he moved back to New York where he was hired to ghost on Joe Palooka.

Working nights on the strip that would eventually become L’il Abner, Capp finally found success. Launched in eight newspapers on August 13, 1934, the cartoon was an immediate hit. Considered a classic of the genre, according to Wikipedia “what began as a hillbilly burlesque soon evolved into one of the most imaginative, popular, and well-drawn strips of the twentieth century.” Some of the characters who appeared include Hairless Joe, Lonesome Polecat, Evil-Eye Fleegle, Lena the Hyena, Senator Jack S. Phogbound, Available Jones, Nightmare Alice, and of course the gals Wolf Gal. Stupefying’ Jones, Moonbeam McSwine, and Daisy Mae (all of whom ended up on the painted noses of bomber planes during WWII and the Korean War.)

Character Sadie Hawkins, “the homeliest gal in all them hills,” was introduced on November 13, 1937. Her father, Hekzebiah Hawkins, a prominent resident of Dogpatch, was concern his daughter would never marry. So he declared Sadie Hawkins Day, and brought all the town’s eligible bachelors together to be chased down the by the resident single ladies in a footrace, the loser winning Sadie’s hand in marriage.

The idea caught on with the public, who wanted the date commemorated each year, as evidenced by the tens of thousands of letters Capp received from colleges, communities, and church groups, as when he would declare Sadie Hawkins Day that year “so they could make plans accordingly.” The concept took on a life of its own, and by 1952, Sadie Hawkins Day was reportedly celebrated in over 40,000 venues. That same year Capp said in an article, “And how about that Sadie Hawkins Day? It doesn’t happen on any set day in November; it happens the day I say it happens.”

Apparently not, because in the United States, Sadie Hawkins Day is now officially celebrated on the first Saturday after November 9.


Now Available! The Wartime Brides Collection: Books 1-4

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Talkshow Thursday: A Guest Post by Julie Arduini

Talkshow Thursday: A Guest Post by Julie Arduini

Restoring Christmas by Julie Arduini
Highlighting the Misunderstood World of Special Needs Students
One of the most exciting aspects of this time of year is the release of Christmas romances. Hallmark knows their popularity; they are now showing movies outside of December. I love losing myself in a love story surrounded by snow and sleigh bells. 
Last year I was honored to participate in a Christmas box set. Although it is no longer available, my novella, Restoring Christmas, has been re-released in both print and Kindle format. I had so much fun writing this story using another Upstate NY area and characters who need to surrender their issues and come together to save a beloved tourist attraction in fictional Geneseo Valley.
One element I used in Restoring Christmas was having the hero, Kevin Holt, bring his students with special needs to help at the failing Christmas mansion. These young teens wanted to make a difference, and Holly Christmas had to decide if she would let go of her pride and allow the community to come in for help. What I enjoyed about Holly was she approached the special needs class with love and a little anxiety, and I think that’s normal.
I have volunteered with ministries that involve families with special needs and in Restoring Christmas, I was intentional in not giving specific diagnoses because sometimes an issue isn’t visible, and people are misunderstood. Sometimes touch is very important, and in other cases, even a pat on the shoulder can be scary. Changes to schedules are a big deal sometimes, and so are different noises we might take for granted. For Holly, she wants to be understanding, but the mansion her parents worked on for years as the premiere Christmas stop each year holds a lot of valuable items. Will the students break things? Will there be tantrums that interrupt her deadlines? How will Holly handle it all and how involved will Kevin be in the process?
Answering those questions truly were a delight. There is so much I love about Restoring Christmas, and one was that I was able to bring awareness to the special needs community. I also gave a nod to my hometown, Corning, with the mention of glass ornaments. More than anything, I believe there’s a sweet romance readers can escape with.
Do you have a connection with the special needs community? If so, you are in the presence of the most amazing group God created. 
Connect with Julie:
Monthly Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/dCFG

About Restoring Christmas: 
Filled with grief and regret, Holly Christmas returns to Geneseo Valley and the family business, The Christmas Mansion. Can Kevin Holt restore her love for the season and the memories she left behind?
Holly Christmas left Geneseo Valley and her family’s holiday tourist attraction, The Christmas Mansion, as soon as she graduated.  Now both her parents have passed, and Holly returns when her uncle needs her help running the mansion. On Holly’s first day back, a blunt middle-schooler proclaims Holly hates Christmas. His comment forces her to reconcile the past while planning for the mansion’s future.
Kevin Holt is invested in offering hope to students with challenges. His best friend’s son is in Kevin’s class, and Nathan needs guidance. Their community project placement at The Christmas Mansion is an opportunity to make a positive difference. When Nathan blurts out his thoughts to the beautiful co-owner, Kevin wonders if he has what it takes to help restore the mansion to its former glory, mentor Nathan, and convince Holly Christmas she’s exactly where she needs to be.
Purchase Links: